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The Who is Who in Death Care

Deathcare is a Multibillion Dollar Industry – Who are the Big Players?

The United States Center for Disease Control reports that 2,712,630 people died in 2015, about an average year by all accounts. And several national reports indicate that the family and friends of those people spent a total of more than $15 billion that year on funerals, cremation, burial and other products and services of the “death care” industry (sometimes referred to by industry insiders as simply “death” or even “big death.”)

Deathcare, clearly, is a big (and growing) industry. And, like any major US industry, it has its share (some insiders might even argue more than its share) of insider politics that ultimately affect everyone who attends a funeral or even read an obituary in any given year. The industry even has a few folks whose full time job is simply to keep up with all of that politics.

Given the emotional nature of death care – and the large amount of money the average US family spends for a funeral (anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000 depending on the study) – plenty of “Average Joe” consumers join the political fray each year, becoming involved in the consumer advocate side of the death care after encountering distress when planning a loved one’s memorial service. For these new comers – and for folks just wanting to make sure they are getting the best possible prices and services out of the industry – the industry can be an overwhelming maze. This guide to the major players in each of the industry’s political sectors will help demystify the maze.

The Who is Who in Death Care – read it all.

Burial at Sea 3

Part 3

Laws Regarding Burials at Sea

So long as burials are done well off of a coast, there are very few restrictions on how a burial at sea can be conducted. Generally speaking, law-making bodies want to assure that sea burial will not result in a body being washed ashore, and, other than concern, there is little to interest a local, state, or national government in sea burials. And, to top it off, once a cremation vessel is more than 12 miles away from land, it is considered to be in international waters where complex maritime law takes precedent and, sea burial having been a seagoing tradition for as long as man has been afloat on the seas, there is little chance that law made by sailors will ever prohibit the practice. There has certainly been no move toward that to date.

So make matters even more favorable for sea burial, there are very few laws that prohibit the scattering of cremation ashes over an inshore body of water. (Entire bodies are another matter in this case, of course.) Many people have been known to transfer the remains of their loved one’s cremation into a special, biodegradable, floating urn designed to float peacefully on the water’s surface for 10 to 15 minutes before gradually sinking to the bottom of a body of water where it breaks down relatively quickly allowing the remains to scatter to the four corners of the Earth. This is entirely legal in just about any body of water, provided the participants break no laws in their ceremony at the surface of the water (such as in trespassing over private property, for example).